Design of an All-Semiconductor Selective Metamaterial Emitter in the Mid-IR Regime with Larger Feature Sizes for Thermophotovoltaic Energy Conversion Applications


A thermophotovoltaic (TPV) system converts heat that is absorbed via conduction, convection, and/or radiation to electricity. The efficiency of TPV energy conversion can be improved with a narrowband selective emitter that emits photons at just above the bandgap energy towards the TPV photodiode. We numerically report a selective metamaterial (MM) emitter design with a single layer of cylindrical structures of p-type silicon (boron-doped). Our design (substrate-free) features a peak absorbance of 94.8% at the wavelength of 3.47 μm with the smallest lateral dimension of 0.8 μm. The absorption is found to be due to the resonance of electric and magnetic fields in the structure. The larger dimensions of our selective MM emitter design make it significantly easier to pattern than many of previously reported selective MM emitters operating at similar wavelengths to that of our work. We believe that our work demonstrates a path forward for future research on larger-area all-semiconductor selective MM emitters with a variety of peak absorbance wavelengths for TPV applications.


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Funding was provided by the Office of Naval Research (Grant No. N00014-15-1-2946), National Science Foundation (Grant No. ECCS – 1806311).

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Correspondence to Thomas E. Vandervelde.

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Oh, M., Carlson, E. & Vandervelde, T.E. Design of an All-Semiconductor Selective Metamaterial Emitter in the Mid-IR Regime with Larger Feature Sizes for Thermophotovoltaic Energy Conversion Applications. Journal of Elec Materi 49, 3504–3511 (2020).

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  • Metamaterials
  • optical absorbers
  • selective emitters